Tonka Update

I haven't given any new news on Tonka in awhile and figured I'd squeak in my February blog posting at the same time ... So!

He's doing great! We started him on immunotherapy for his (outdoor) allergens at the beginning of the year - a specially prepared mix just for him, which I administer(ed) in gradually increased dosage injections every other day during the "loading period" - YES! I actually was able to do the injections myself! I didn't think I'd be able to (and Mr Gem cannot, as he is EXTREMELY needlephobic) but Tonka's such an easygoing guy he made it quite easy for me. So we are currently on the every-10-days timeframe from the second, more concentrated dosage vial. And so far so good - once we got the dosage up and then went to the more concentrated formula, he did have a slight recurrance of hotspots and itching, but we've kept that pretty well under control with Benedryl, and we did some pulse antibiotic therapy just to be sure he didn't come up with any infections. I am also trying to be meticulous about wiping him down, especially his paws! with babywipes when he comes back inside after walks or playing in the yard. He is also pretty limited as far as being allowed outside. Which is HARD, especially for such a big dog, and one who was used to being outside, all. the. time. But it's for his own good, so I try to limit him to about 10 minutes of "laying in the sunshine" time then I call him in :)

Sorta cool thing happened, too - Mr Gem actually met the former owners a couple weekends ago - really randomly! He was walking Tonka around the outside of our neighborhood and this couple pulled up in their car ... Said they were on their way to church and saw the dog: "where did you get him" "what's his name" etc ... and when he told them Tonka - they were like "Omigosh, it IS him - he used to be our dog!" - See, the vet couldn't say what had happened to Tonka after they'd turned him over to them (which made sense, 'cause if he'd been put down or something you wouldn't wanna have to find that out, you know?) but when they saw him out walking they had to stop and find out if it was him ... They were very happy to learn he'd been adopted and said that he looked wonderful and they were so glad he was in a great home and being taken care of so well. They had originally adopted him from a shelter when he was 2 years old, and he just ended up outside all day because they both worked. And with all his health issues they just weren't able to care for / afford him anymore ... SO! It was nice to give them some closure/relief, as well as for us to know that Tonka wasn't either upset OR overjoyed to see them again - (that was the first thing I asked about!) - Daddy said he just wagged and sniffed like he would have with anyone else, so it was nice for us that he seems to know he's really "home" now ... But isn't that funny, meeting them outta the blue like that?

And so the other thing we have to do is make homemade dog treats ... Tonka cannot have any commercially made cookies, snacks, chews, etc - so I researched some homemade dog treats online and found one I thought would work - doublechecked the ingredients with our vet and with a few minor adjustments to the recipe, I've come up with my own version that works perfectly for Tonka!


3 C oat flour
1/2 C oatmeal (old fashioned OR quick cook)
1 TBSP oat bran
2 TSP baking powder
1 1/2 C milk
1 1/2 TBSP blackstrap molasses

- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
- Mix dry ingredients in large bowl
- Mix wet ingredients until smooth
- Add wet to dry and mix together to form dough - if it is too wet just add a little more oat flour (I knead small batches on the table and just add flour as needed)
- Roll the dough out to 1/4" thick and cut with 3" dog bone cookie cutter ... You can also make larger or smaller bones or alternative shapes, just adjust the rolled thickness accordingly.
- Bake the bones 45-60 minutes for the larger ones, less for the smaller - until they are lightly browned.
- Turn OFF the oven, and let them finish drying - overnight, or until crisp and firm - they should not move when you press on them.

*The original recipe called for BARLEY flour, and the addition of 1 1/4 C of peanut butter. Our vet said we should leave out the PB, and I found oat flour to be better than the barley, so I changed that. I also cut the milk down to half a cup, and replaced the rest with water. I've also made it with all water with no real difference. I've made them in bone shapes, heart shapes and even with a round biscuit cutter, I just adjust the thickness and cooking/drying times if needed.

OH! And if ya wanted to, you could eat them yourself, obviously. I mean, they aren't GREAT, but they're not terrible either :D

That's it, I gotta run - the laundry's calling! and I've been screening all day so I think it's on to me now ;-p

~ gem ~